Another major concern raised by the EU-ASEAN FTA Campaign network against the proposed EU-Philippines free trade agreement is the impact of its strict intellectual property rights chapter (IPR) on public health and access to medicines. Health advocates and proponents of the Cheaper Medicines Law (RA 9502) together with trade advocates have come out strongly against provisions in the FTA that would extend patent terms, and effectively delay availability of more affordable generic medicines. Public health should not be subordinated to the agenda of big pharmaceutical companies.
Citra Mina workers have been on strike since 2013 over the arbitrary termination of 238 for organising a union. The striking workers and union supporters have been facing various threats including purported "disappearances" onboard fishing vessels of workers who complain company abuses.
A number of issues have been raised against the company including unsafe and slave-like working conditions, blacklisting to keep workers in line, forced labour, rampant use of labour and fishing subcontracting called "cabo" system, alleged human trafficking and illegal fishing.
By Cecilia Olivet, Jaybee Garganera, Farah Sevilla and Joseph Purugganan
Amsterdam/Manila, May 24 2016 – As the first round of negotiations of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the Philippines and the EU commences in Brussels, a new report warns that it endangers effective regulation of the mining industry in the Philippines.
The Philippines is one of five countries worldwide with the highest overall mineral reserves. Its estimated 9 million hectares of land with mineral reserves (gold, copper, nickel, aluminium and chromite) occupies 30% of the total land area of the Philippines.